“Psychopath with a conscience” convicted of double murder
A man who claimed in a text to a friend that he was a “psychopath with a conscience” has been convicted of the murder of two women.
Mark Brown was found guilty of the murders of Alex Morgan, 34, and Leah Ware, 32. The remains of Alex , who disappeared in November 2021, were discovered by police, though the body of Leah, who went missing earlier the same year in May, has never been recovered.
Brown, who was in a relationship with Leah before her disappearance, met both women through an adult services website. Hosting them at a remote property he owned called Little Bridge Farm; this was the last place both women were seen, with CCTV footage and mobile cell site data placing them at and around the location.
Brown was arrested on suspicion of murder on 25 November 2021 after Kent police detectives interviewed him at his property. Further searches of the building site where Brown worked led to police finding Alex’s remains in a skip together with a burnt-out oil drum, alongside some of her jewellery and a carrier bag containing her hair straighteners. Alex’s keys were also found in a works vehicle at the scene.
As the police continued their investigation into Alex’s murder, prescription medication belonging to Leah was found in Brown’s work van. Despite an extensive investigation to locate Leah by Sussex Police, there was no evidence to suggest she was alive.
In the prosecution’s case, Brown killed Leah Ware in May 2021 and continued collecting her medication and withdrawing cash from her accounts to conceal his crime.
Today, at Hove Crown Court, Brown was found guilty of both murders by a jury.
Libby Clark from the CPS said: “This is a tragic case where two women – Alex Morgan and Leah Ware – were murdered and treated with utter disregard and cruelty at the hands of Mark Brown.
“Brown has never accepted his actions; he claimed Alex’s death was an accident and created a web of lies to cover up the truth about Leah’s murder.
“We are pleased the jury saw through his lies and convicted him today, closing this complex and challenging case.
“Our thoughts remain with the families of Alex Morgan and Leah Ware. We hope, now Brown has been convicted, he will finally tell us what happened to Leah’s body, so her family can have closure.”
Building the case
Extensive evidence, including CCTV footage, automated number plate recognition (ANPR), mobile phone data, and witness testimony, helped build a strong case against Brown, proving he was responsible for the murders of Alex Morgan and Leah Ware.
Importantly, CCTV footage showing Alex Morgan’s Mini following Brown’s gold Jaguar to Little Bridge Farm, and Brown’s movements afterwards, including the removal of the Mini a few days later in an attempt to conceal his crime, helped create the timeline of events which lead up to and subsequently followed the murder of Alex Morgan.
Further evidence showing Brown to be responsible for Alex’s murder came when police searched her home and found a note detailing the postcode for Little Bridge Farm and references to where Brown worked as a security guard. A phone which contained screenshots of a series of messages sent to her by the defendant was also found.
A particular challenge to the prosecution’s case was that this was a murder case, despite police not being able to locate Leah’s body. Crucially, evidence was needed to prove she had disappeared, and that Brown had killed her.
Witness testimonies showed the extent of Brown’s lies about Leah’s whereabouts, telling some people she had passed away and was at “peace” while telling other people she was an inpatient at various psychiatric hospitals in Sussex.
Sussex Police made thorough enquiries to establish proof of life. Still, they found no evidence of Leah attempting to contact friends or family, seek medical treatment, or register for a driver’s license or passport.
Leah was also dedicated to the care of her dogs, Duke and Lady, but following her disappearance, Brown rehomed Duke to his sister, and the remains of a dog of the same breed as Lady were found on his property, further suggesting Leah was dead.
Libby Clark added: “As more evidence was uncovered, it became clear Mark Brown was the link between both women’s disappearance and is responsible for their murders.
“I want to extend my gratitude to the officers from Kent Police and Sussex Police whose meticulous investigation helped ensure today’s conviction.
“Violence against women and girls has no place in our society. At the CPS, we are determined to bring perpetrators of these devastating crimes to justice.”
Notes to editors
• Mark Brown [DOB: 6/10/1981]
• Libby Clark is a Senior Crown Prosecutor within the CPS South East Complex Casework Unit
• Mark Brown will be sentenced on 13/1/2023